The Republican-endorsed candidate for Minnesota attorney general, Jim Schultz, criticized current Attorney General Keith Ellison for his recent press conference promising to legally defend out-of-state women coming to Minnesota for abortions.
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to release its decision in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in the coming days, and a draft opinion leaked to the media indicates that the high court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.
A recent poll found that the attorney general’s race could be the most winnable statewide race for Republicans.
Schultz, a Harvard Law graduate, blasted Ellison in a Tuesday statement for “engaging in theoreticals better suited for a law school classroom than the office of Attorney General.”
The attorney general said in his Tuesday press conference that he would “directly intervene” to stop the prosecution of women visiting Minnesota to obtain an abortion. According to the Star Tribune, Ellison said he would not hesitate to deny requests for extradition or even sue the states in question.
But Schultz accused Ellison of not knowing the relevant state and federal laws. He pointed out how it’s the governor’s legal obligation to deal with extraditions, not the attorney general’s.
“Under Minnesota law, while the governor can ‘call upon’ the Attorney General or any other prosecutor to investigate the demand for extradition, the Attorney General has no other power. That’s it,” Schultz said. “If Ellison has a problem with that, he should run for governor, God help us, or ask our Legislature to change the law, God help us again.”
“It is unfortunate that the media parroted Ellison’s talking points without confirming basic facts.”
Citing the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee on freedom of movement, the attorney general added he would defend any women who, upon returning to their home states, are prosecuted for getting an abortion in Minnesota.
However, many states that have enacted strict laws against abortion, like Texas and Oklahoma, generally target a person who procures or performs an abortion, not the woman who gets the abortion. Furthermore, Texas and Oklahoma rely on private enforcement of their abortion bans through civil lawsuits, not top-down criminal enforcement by the state.
Additionally, Schultz said the extradition scenario discussed by Ellison is unlikely to even occur. “It is Democratic fan fiction,” he told Alpha News.
“Freedom of movement under United States law is governed primarily by the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the United States Constitution which states, ‘The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.’ For decades, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that this important clause protects, among other things, the right to enter one state and leave another, as well as the right to be treated as a welcome visitor rather than a hostile stranger,” Schultz added.
Implying that Ellison’s press conference was a campaign stunt, Schultz urged him to “prosecute real criminals in Minnesota” instead of “trying to play law-school professor — and doing a bad job even at that.”
“There is real crime occurring in Minnesota. People are being shot, theft is rampant including violent carjackings, and drug use is easily and openly found downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul. Good citizens fear their loved ones’ safety,” he said.